Step Up program



The Step Up program addresses the needs of all students by providing individualised support for learning. Our aim is to provide opportunities for all students to improve academically and to achieve their full potential.

The Step Up program provides differentiated support in literacy and numeracy across three tiers throughout the school.

Tier 1 programs are differentiated programs supporting entire year levels, such as IMPACT maths (problem solving) for years 2 and 4, reading comprehension for years 3 and 5 and Step Up writing for year 2.

Tier 2 programs provide differentiated support in literacy and numeracy for small groups of students from prep through to year 6.

Tier 3 programs provide intensive intervention for individual students throughout the school.

Program Organisation

The Tier 1 programs are organised across two semesters:

  • Semester One -Years 3 and 5 Literacy (Reading Comprehension and aspects of Writing )
  • Semester Two -Years 4 and 6 IMPACT Maths (Problem Solving in Mathematics)

The program is delivered by a team of class teachers, Support Teachers Literacy and Numeracy (STsLaN) and highly trained teacher aides. Our school has restructured all operations to enable our teacher aides to participate in the running of this program.

Step Up is designed to complement the teaching of reading comprehension, aspects of writing and problem solving in mathematics in all classrooms. Students are supported in either the classroom setting or the Step Up teaching area.

Teaching Elements


​The focus for Tier 2 and Tier 3 reading intervention is to develop automaticity in recognising letters and sounds, decoding words and fluency, with a goal to ultimately improve reading comprehension. The focus is on reducing the cognitive load and building success through programs that are explicit, sequential, systematic and multisensory. We follow the CHSIPS phonics roadmap which is the progression for teaching phonics within the early years' classrooms.

Phonological Awareness:

All Step Up reading programs have an ongoing focus on Phonological awareness.

  • ​Phonological awareness is the term used to describe the awareness of the sounds of spoken words which can be distinguished in three ways: by syllables, by onset and rime and by phoneme (e.g. the smallest unit of spoken word)
  • ​​Phonemic awareness is a sub-element of phonological processing and is the awareness of phonemes which is demonstrated when students identify and manipulate phonemes. Phonemic awareness is essential for students to understand the relationship between speech and print and, therefore, to read and write.​

Phonemic awareness skills include:

  • Blending sou​nds​​
Adult: "What word do you hear when I say the sounds /s/ /t/ /o/ /m/ /p/ ?"
Child: "stomp!"​
  • Segmenting sounds​
Adult: "Tell me the sounds in the word grub".
Child: "/g/ /r/ /u/ /b/"
  • ​Deleting sounds​​
Adult: "Remove the /m/ from stomp, the new word is ...?"
Child: "stop!"
  • Adding sounds​​
Adult: "Add /t/ to 'rip', the new word is ...?"
Child: "trip!"
  • Substituting​ sounds​
Adult: "In 'bed', swap the /e/ for /a/. The new word is ...?"
Child: "bad!"


Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension strategies that are taught in the Tier 1 Step Up reading program include:

  • Activating prior knowledge,
  • Questioning,
  • Summarising,
  • Visualising,
  • Skimming,
  • Scanning,
  • Self-monitoring,
  • Predicting,
  • Making connections,
  • Inferring.

(Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies a Practical Classroom Guide - Sheena Cameron 2009)

These strategies are consolidated using a variety of text types at an appropriate level of difficulty for each group of students. Each group follows a structured, focused sequence of teaching.

There is also a focus on building vocabulary knowledge. Each week during the program, a new "Word of the Week" is introduced and examined.​

Last reviewed 31 August 2021
Last updated 31 August 2021